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Railroad Commission of Texas Reclamation Award
Texas Westmoreland Coal Company Receives Coal Mining Reclamation Award
The Surface Mining and Reclamation Division awarded the 2016 Railroad Commission of Texas Reclamation Award to Texas Westmoreland Coal Company (TWCC) for their submittal of the Jewett Mine DS E-11 Civil Structure, which describes TWCC’s implementation of general geomorphic reclamation principles in stream channel restoration at the Jewett Mine.
Each year in the fall, the Railroad Commission of Texas announces its Reclamation Awards Program to the Texas Coal Mining industry. This awards program is designed to recognize outstanding and innovative reclamation achievements at Texas coal mines and complements the Interstate Mining Compact Commission's (IMCC) Annual Reclamation Awards Program. Nominees are required to submit their nomination to the Surface Mining and Reclamation Division. A diverse team from the division's technical and enforcement staff then selects a nominee based on a set of criteria developed by IMCC.
Pictured left to right: Commissioner Christi Craddick; Mike Altavilla, Texas Westmoreland Coal Company Mine Compliance and Lands Superintendent; Chairman David Porter; Denny Kingsley, Texas Westmoreland Coal Company President & General Manager; Derrell Ezell, Texas Westmoreland Coal Company Environmental Superintendent; and Commissioner Ryan Sitton.
Jewett Mine DS E-11 Civil Structure
TWCC has two lignite mining permits in Texas that cover almost 31,000 acres. The lignite mined by TWCC is used in the nearby Limestone Electric Generating Station. The Jewett Mine, in operation since 1985, provides employment for over 400 people. The award nomination reflects TWCC’s efforts to provide reclamation that is more consistent with stream channels found naturally in the local setting and resulted in a restored stream that is more natural in appearance and required fewer reinforced structures.
TWCC previously gave minimal thought to approximating premine stream function or appearance, which resulted in linear drainage features that frequently included the use of rock riprap or concrete drop structures to protect against erosion. TWCC began the initial design process for the nominated project with the goal of utilizing reclamation techniques that would more closely resemble premine conditions. The design process for this project included involvement from engineers and landscape architects using landform design software. TWCC conducted quantitative habitat quality and species surveys to account for premine baseline stream conditions. The reclamation required management of flow from an approximately 65-acre watershed area through a 1,000-foot long channel, with an elevation change of about 21 feet. Three permanent drop structures were required to provide stability in the channel. Three channel sections with slopes of up to 15 percent were protected with EnviroGrid, which is a rock-filled cellular confinement system. Flatter channel sections requiring stabilization were underlain with EnviroGrid and overplanted with Bermudagrass. The surfaces of the vertical concrete drop structures were enhanced by being covered with flagstone to provide structural stability while maintaining a more natural appearance. Large native stones were placed within the channel and one-foot deep stilling pools were installed at the base of each drop structure to dissipate the energy from anticipated flows. The result of the structure design is the creation of a more natural looking, sinuous channel that effectively controls erosion in the reclaimed landscape. Texas Westmoreland Coal Company's 2016 Texas Reclamation Award Submittal